ASU sand volleyball falls to Nebraska in program’s first home game

Freshman Genevieve Pirotte digs a ball in the sand volleyball program’s first home match on Wednesday, March 26 at the PERA Club in Tempe. Pirotte and her partner, freshman BreElle Bailey, lost their game in three sets. (Photo by Benjamin Margiott)

Freshman Genevieve Pirotte digs a ball in the sand volleyball program’s first home match on Wednesday, March 26 at the PERA Club in Tempe. Pirotte and her partner, freshman BreElle Bailey, lost their game in three sets. (Photo by Benjamin Margiott)

On a sunny, but windy day, the ASU sand volleyball team failed to pull out a victory in a series of suspenseful matches against Nebraska on Wednesday, falling 3-2.

This was the Sun Devils’ first home game in program history, taking place at their facility at the PERA Club in Tempe.

ASU looked strong in the beginning, starting off with wins in both of its initial matches. Sophomore Andi Lowrance and junior Nora Tuioti-Mariner clinched the No. 5 win with two back-and-forth sets ending at 21-19 and 22-20. In both games, ASU trailed in the beginning but eventually rallied to victory.

 

 

This momentum fell off for freshmen BreElle Bailey and Genevieve Pirotte as they struggled after their initial 21-16 victory. The No. 4 pair lost their next two sets, 21-12 and 15-10, after seeming to be in control of the first set.

As the wind picked up in the third match, things began to look grim for ASU after a loss at No. 3, with freshman Kizzy Willey and sophomore Jordy Checkal losing two sets in a row.

The No. 2 pairing, consisting of sophomores Macey Gardner and Whitney Follette, tried to rally the Sun Devils by pulling out two victories in a row, 22-20 and 21-18, but in the end the effort wasn’t enough.

ASU finished the night losing 3-2, the final match coming down to a close three-set loss by the No. 1-seeded team of sophomore Bianca Arellano and senior Bethany Jorgensen.

Despite the loss, coach Jason Watson remained optimistic. He said that facing this tough Nebraska team at home sets his squad up to be better as it goes forward.

Freshman BreElle Bailey hits a ball to Nebraska sophomore Alicia Ostrander at the sand volleyball program’s first home match on Wednesday, March 26 at the PERA Club in Tempe. Bailey and her partner, freshman Genevieve Pirotte, lost their game in three sets. (Photo by Benjamin Margiott)

Freshman BreElle Bailey hits a ball to Nebraska sophomore Alicia Ostrander at the sand volleyball program’s first home match on Wednesday, March 26 at the PERA Club in Tempe. Bailey and her partner, freshman Genevieve Pirotte, lost their game in three sets. (Photo by Benjamin Margiott)

“We had some moments,” Watson said. “The margins in this sport are just incredibly thin.”

Even with the loss, Follette said that she enjoyed getting to play against the tough competition.

“I think Macey and I worked really well together,” Follette said. “It was fun to compete hard and play well.”

This loss puts ASU at 3-2 for the season. The Sun Devils will host their next game against Arizona Christian University on April 11 at 4 p.m.

Reach the reporter at nshively@asu.edu or follow him on Twitter @Nick_Shively